The King Ranch was founded on two Spanish land grants in the area of the Wild Horse Desert by Richard King. He and his wife had 5 children but only the youngest, Alice, produced grandchildren, the Kleburg family. These descendents are instrumental in running the ranch today. The huge family home is maintained for the sole purpose of the family while visiting either for business or pleasure.
Their greatest claim to fame is the breeding and establishment of the Santa Gertrudis line of beef cattle, far superior to the Texas longhorn. The ranch was initially called Santa Gertrudis after the creek by that name. It was the first fresh water Richard King found after leaving Brownsville, which today is a 3 hour drive.
Today the ranch is over 850,000 acres including 75,000 acres in Bellglade FL where they grow citrus, milo (a feed grain) and sod. They also breed and train cutting horses and have had one Triple Crown Winner in Assault in 1946.
An artesian well was discovered on the ranch in 1899 and was instrumental in its growth. A bronze sculpture in the Visitor's Center depicts this event.
We then went to the museum which contained lots of photographs of the family and life on the ranch. This is a Buick Eight made into a hunting car. I am standing beside a horse blanket woven on the ranch from wool of sheep also raised there.
Next we went to the Saddle Shop where I found this longhorn as part of the decorative display.
No one was working on the handmade saddles but I did take a few photos of the work area.
The disappointing thing was that virtually every item in the shop outside of the saddles, though marked with the "Running W" brand was made in China. Needless to say, I didn't buy anything.